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Congressman Kind: Some constituents say they're fed up

June 10, 2011
In The News

River Falls Journal

By Phil Pfuehler

One person who spoke at U.S. Representative Ron Kind's listening session in River Falls Thursday, June 9, complained that “Democrats don’t rise to the occasion,” that Republicans are better at “getting their message out, whether it’s true or not, and they stay on that message and beat it to the ground until some people start believing it.”

Another speaker called Republicans “very slimy” for getting a Republican to run against Senate recall Democratic challenger Shelly Moore: “They do whatever, say whatever.”

Kind's listening session was held for 90 minutes at the lower level of the River Falls Public Library.

The meeting room was packed to standing-room only. Sentiments ran high.

Constituents expressed concern abour preserving Medicare, budget cuts that target public education, programs for the needy and the environment.

Some were also worried about the economy, high gas prices, and the impasse in Washington over raising the debt ceiling.

There was also frustration directed at Republicans for their fixation on tax cuts that seem to benefit the wealthy and big corporations.

Part of the same frustration was directed at Democrats for not vigorously confronting Republicans. One person yelled, "We need our own Rush Limbaugh."

Kind criticized positions of Republicans, including how some have boxed themselves in by signing no-new tax pledges.

However, for the most part, Kind stuck to his own views and kept his criticisms from getting personal.

He said both parties have to find common ground on the budget deficit and "lock arms and jump into the icy waters together.”

He disagreed with his Republican colleague Paul Ryan's attempt to privatize Medicare.

Kind said an independent analysis of the Ryan plan shows it would “double out-of-pocket expenses for seniors.”

Kind said there’s a simple reason why: “Private insurers don’t want to cover seniors because they have more chronic illnesses and diseases” to pay for.